Our Harvest assembly this morning reminded us all of the importance of altruism which is key to our school’s mission: ‘to inspire pupils to develop scholarship, integrity, altruism and independence.’ Thank you for your generous donations for Food Bank Aid, a charity which supports over 30 independent food banks across North London by collecting, sorting and distributing food, toiletries and household items to over 16,000 people, including more than 5,200 children. We are delighted to help support such a worthy cause. We feel strongly as a school community that we should help raise awareness of food poverty and engage with our pupils about social responsibility. A big thank you to our Form Reps Miss Manners (Isabella C-M 3E), Ms Gupta (Aavya G 3E) and Mrs Taylor (Honey T 2B) who delivered the donations to the depot in order to help families who are really struggling.
As part of our Harvest celebrations, we also listened to a fascinating talk by Helen, the owner of a local family-run business, Highgate Honey, that concentrates on producing high-quality honey while maintaining healthy bees. Highgate Honey started keeping bees in 2013 when they moved to the area and realised that it would be possible to have a hive on the roof of their home. Since then the number of colonies has grown and now they have apiaries in Hampstead, Finchley, Dartmouth Park and Hendon. Highgate Honey now encourages people to make small changes to their own outdoor spaces to help support all types of bees.
Highgate Honey are particularly fascinated by the variation in tastes and colours of honey produced by the same hives throughout the season. They extract their honey in small batches every few weeks over the summer to try and capture these differences. They jar and label the honey from each hive separately so we can really appreciate each type. They watch to see which flowers we see bees visiting in our local area, so we get an idea about which nectars may be in the honey.
This talk resonated with the girls (and staff) who are passionate advocates for sustainability and protecting the planet. One of the ways we continue to support the girls to do this is by actively championing them to share their opinions and ideas for sustainable endeavours. Our Sustainability Officers (Asta M RM, Ottie A-P RR, Anouska R 1A, Sophia S 1C, Reeva S 1W, Luna S 2B, Iris W 2R, Mari D 3E, Arianna B-P 3F, Ayra M 4K, Jessica A 4W, Aria B 5K, Selena K 5S, Thalia R 6B, Danielle L 6D) will work throughout the year with Mr Rich and Miss Baker (Forest School & Sustainability Leads) to implement and carry out new initiatives to foster green ideas and encourage further sustainability within our school grounds.
Last week, the Sixth Form Sustainability Officers, Lola and Grace, joined Mr Rich and Miss Baker in assembly in order to announce a climate emergency declaration at Channing. This is an action taken by governments, universities, scientists and now schools to acknowledge humanity is in a climate emergency. The first such declaration was made by a local government in December 2016. Since then, over 2,100 local governments in 39 countries have made climate emergency declarations. I encourage you to watch this video (made by our Sustainability Officers last Summer Term) to explain, in their voices, the need for a climate emergency.
You are probably asking yourselves what it means for Channing now that we have declared a climate emergency. As a school community, we are recognising that human enhanced climate change and its consequences are now seen as a major issue which already is affecting all of our futures. We are saying that we want to be part of the solution, rather than the problem. Recognising that climate and eco-anxiety is on the rise, and that enabling our staff and pupils to do something about it is empowering and essential. We are going to work towards net zero so this will mean changes, including:
- Promoting the ‘Eco Code’ which was created by last year’s Sustainability Team
- Improving recycling
- Using public transport for school trips whenever possible
- Continuing providing meat free meals
- Reducing the use of single use plastic
- Increasing the purchase of Fairtrade goods
- Continuing and championing ‘Clean Air’ days
- Promoting planting and gardening in the school grounds
- Calculating the school’s carbon footprint
The Junior School and Senior School Sustainability Officers will share further initiatives for Sustainability Week, 27 November – 1 December 2023, which will coincide with the UN Climate Change Conference, COP 28, taking place in the UAE this year. We invite you to join us in supporting in-school, local and national initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint and support greener credentials moving forwards.
To hear more about the school’s commitment to Sustainability, listen to the latest episode of Chatting With Channing with Mr Hill (Bursar), Miss Walker (Sustainability Coordinator, Senior School) and the Year 13 Sustainability Officers. Listen on: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Channing Website
With warmest regards,
Miss Dina Hamalis
Head of the Junior School